Anita’s is one of the most popular family restaurants in Northern Virginia, due to the intensity and compassion of the “Anita” its named after. There are about eight Anita’s, which is a far cry from the original shack like location that they used to have out of Fairfax City. Most of their restaurants are large, can handle crowds of any size, and have earned the right to be considered the best Tex-Mex eateries in the area. The famous “Anita” was a real sparkplug, but in a good way. She was a driven woman, but equally kind, and she made this restaurant what it is today. Sadly she passed away a couple of years ago, but her family’s still in charge of the day to day operations. While everyone misses her, a part of her lives on, with their focus on customer service, and providing food that all can afford.
A lot of Tex-Mex places are overpriced. Or if they offer entrees that you can afford, they try to give you small portions, that will leave you hungry a couple of hours later. Anita’s is the exact opposite, as most of their entrees are in the $8-$14 range. There’s a variety of selections, and while breakfasts are a good portion of their business, I’m all about going there for lunch and dinner. The Burgerito is what I live for, and at $9.99, its a lunch meal that will leave you full enough to avoid dinner. This is perhaps the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen, and the soft tortilla shell is filled with spicy ground beef, onions, cheese, chives, and a house hot sauce that’s just right. It generates the heat with its red chiles, but it won’t cause you to get burned. Served with a side of pinto beans and rice, you will be stuffed, no matter how big your appetite or belly is.
You can select from numerous taco meals. While I do like the traditonal hard shell ground beef ones, you can go with a soft tortilla, and also choose from chicken, steak, and fish. For those on a diet, there’s also a veggie taco, but I found it to be a bit boring, much like most dishes of that part of the menu. The chicken is barbecued, and seems to be marinaded with some sort of hot sauce. I love the steak as well, and while I could be wrong, it seems to have a bit of lemon juice mixed in with the braised strips. These are really good, and the cheese and sour cream are “icing on the cake.”
If you like fajitas, there are several choices. This is where you can spend some money, as they are among the more expensive items on the menu. However, unlike other Tex-Mex restaurants, you don’t get shorted on the amount of chicken or steak that you order. A lot of restaurants do this on purpose, and load up your plate with the grilled vegetables. Anita’s doesn’t do that, and they should be commended for this. The fajitas have those charred marks that make them even more appetizing, and the chicken or pork ones are great with a cold beer. If you are into wine, they have basic white and red ones available.
I have never seen poor service at any of Anita’s locations. There have been times when a server has had too many tables, but they always do their best to make sure everything is done perfectly. Even during busy lunch and dinner periods, most of the meals are at your table in under ten minutes. That’s hard to beat, especially when hungry, and the management is not afraid to refill drinks or get you anything needed if the waitstaff get backed up. This is a good approach, and I’ve just been thrilled with the level of dedication experienced at each of their restaurants.
You don’t have to wear a tie and suit, as Anita’s is a casual restaurant. You’ll look a bit foolish in cut off shorts and an a-shirt, but blue jeans and a regular collared polo are fine. The seating arrangements are made at the front door, and each of their locations has booths and traditional tables. Try to get one of the booths, as they offer a bit more room, and the well cushioned booths are better for dinners with family and friends. All major credit cards are accepted, and most of their locations are open early until around 11 pm at night. Its a family friendly place, and while there’s not a huge kids menu, there’s something that a parent’s son or daughter will enjoy. If in the area, give Anita’s a try, because you will have a fantastic meal at a price that won’t break your budget. For more information check out http:///www.anitascorp.com.